Category Archives: media

Don’t Call Me Blogger

Look, I’ve been doing this for a long time.

There’s something about being called “blogger” that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the face people make when they say it — or that they put it in quotes, as seen in the previous sentence. In polite society, the title blogger seems to fall somewhere between panhandler and pornographer, so it’s time for a change.

From now on, my title here on the blog is Social Media Strategist and Interactive Audience Manager. I think that befits my years of experience in doing this and better describes my role here at Keyboard Krumbs.

Maybe I can’t give myself a raise, but who needs money when you have a fancy title?

Mickey and Me

We were sitting in a box at Saratoga one fine August afternoon. I know that sounds fancy, but if you’ve ever sat in one those boxes you know it’s more cramped than glamorous. And if you’re like me you’d rather be at a picnic table with a cooler full of beer.

It was hard not to notice the activity behind us as a stream of people stopped to say hello to an older man in nearby box. We almost fell off our uncomfortable chairs when it dawned on us that it was Mickey Rooney.

Rooney was sitting alone with his racing form, about as far away from the finish line as you could get and still be in one of the “exclusive” boxes.

Now, working in TV I’d met tons of well-known people — the most famous of whom was Oprah Winfrey. But Mickey Rooney? He was a freakin’ legend. Regardless, we did our best to play it cool, acknowledging him without seeming like amateurs. We inquired with our waiter about sending over a drink, not knowing he’d knocked off the booze years before.

So we went back and forth with a little small talk about the races and such, without being intrusive. Today I would have invited him to sit at our box; it didn’t occur to me at the time that he actually might have joined us.

Eventually, Mr. Rooney let on that he had a well placed tip on one of the races. A tip? From Mickey Rooney? This we must bet, and not just our small time $2 wagers — no, at 10-1, this was more of a $20 or $30 to win sort of bet.

Naturally, we all lost money on that one.

Nothing was said about the sure thing that was not so sure. If only we could have had a preview of Mickey Rooney’s obituary we would have known that he’d visited many racetracks in his lifetime, and more often than not, made impressive contributions to the sport of kings.

So, here’s to Mickey Rooney. He never lost his taste for the ponies — or his ability to charm an audience.

Time To Kill the Walking Dead

The Walking Dead can be infuriating. Part of me enjoys the survivor story that never seems to stop — but part of me craves a conclusion. Stories have a beginning and an end – they don’t go on forever — and as much as I like the show, I’m ready for the final act.

Think of Walking Dead’s AMC cousins, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Both followed a clear story arc aiming for a destination — and they both featured interesting characters who changed as the series progressed.

Could Breaking Bad still be on the air? Sure. Every week Walt would cook more meth and fend off the latest threat to his empire. Or Mad Men: Don sleeps with someone, gets drunk, loses a big account, has an existential crisis… how long does that stay interesting?

I don’t get the sense that the The Walking Dead knows where it’s going, happy instead rack up big ratings and zombie kills.

Even on MASH, the Korean War eventually ended.

So, I say save the show by killing it. Don’t let it become like the walkers, shambling aimlessly around in the woods for as long as their decaying muscles will carry them.

Having said that, here are the three top rejected Terminus signs:

Terminus: We are here to serve humans.

Terminus: We’d love to have you for dinner.

Terminus: Come for the sanctuary, stay for the B-B-Q.

FLASH Newspaper Website Publishes News

Most people would sooner stick their tongue in an electrical outlet than pay for news online. That’s why it’s so damn exciting that the Daily Gazette has dropped its paywall.

According to All Over Albany, it’s only temporary. Editor Judy Patrick told AOA that the Gazette is upgrading their paywall technology; no word on whether this upgrade will fix the “Free Gazette” trick long used by those in the know to access stories.

Anyway, I’ve noticed something odd while reading the Gazette online: it’s full of news. I keep scrolling down the page expecting to find fluffy, inconsequential content and all I see are freakin’ news stories.

Hey, Gazette! Where are the endless snapshot galleries from local events? Why no silly wire service stories about dogs? What’s this with burying the entertainment news?

The page is so full of news that it looks suspiciously like it was organized by an editor. WTF?

So, Gazette, I rarely give advice, but here’s some for you: have a look at the Times Union and learn a thing or two about what a newspaper website should look like. Then you might have something I’d pay for. Or not.

Attack of the Food Bloggers

Bloggers get no love. Consider this headline from the Times Union:

Ex-blogger Arrested on Child Porn Charges

I like how they give blogger equal billing with child porn. “Child porn? That figures! Filthy blogger!”

So, when somebody treats local bloggers special, believe me, it’s a pretty big deal — like this week when Price Chopper invited a bunch of local food bloggers to the opening of their new Market Bistro store in Latham.

Price Chopper has smart PR people, so they know that if you schmooze a bunch of bloggers and feed them you’ll get results — like seven blog posts the next day. There may be more out there; these are just the ones I found in a two-minute search:

Tablehopping
The Angel Forever
Albany Eats
All Over Albany
Eat Local
Jon in Albany
CR Foodies

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrific that blogs are considered an important part of a media campaign — and it does seem to work. Now, if I can only get myself invited somewhere they have free food. I promise to write a blog post about it.

Super, How About You?

Three things.

Terrible game. Even though I wanted to see the Seahawks win, what I was really rooting for was a dramatic and competitive contest. Thanks for ruining the Super Bowl, Denver!

I was called “old” for being dismissive of Bruno Mars. Yes, I’m old, Old enough to have seen his act done by other people — and done better. The only saving grace were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were hilarious.

The commercials? Can we finally put the hype to bed? There was some solid work, but nothing spectacular. I could show you twenty better spots that aired in the past year that were better than anything that ran on Sunday.

Having said that, here’s a great spot from Adobe that advertisers should think about:

Don’t Cry for Me, Arhentina

One of the NPR reporters I hear all the time is Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. Her stories are always good — but there’s one thing that drives me batty: her meticulously correct pronunciation of Spanish words and names.

Her textbook pronunciations are mildly irksome, but when I heard Argentina come out of her mouth as Ar-hen-tina, I nearly choked on my Cheerios. Yes, she said Ar-hen-tina – not fifteen seconds after Steve Inskeep said Argentina in the intro.

Even more maddening, later in the story she uses the word Argentines with the normal English pronunciation. Why wouldn’t they be Ar-hen-tines?

You may think this is intolerant, but I’m speaking strictly in terms of good broadcasting.

For years, the BBC has had a pronunciation unit that sets rules on how its news presenters should say the names of people and places. Here in the US, the AP sends out pronunciation guides every day to help newscasters.

In America, radio and TV news operations should try to use standard American English pronunciations.  It may be more accurate to say Arhentina, but it’s distracting –  and it sounds terribly pretentious.

Movie Music

I recently saw The World’s End, the latest of Edgar Wright’s Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movies. Thumbs up!

Something that really caught my attention was a very brief clip of  the 1990 song The Only Rhyme That Bites which samples the opening theme to the 1958 Western, The Big Country. Give it a listen; it’s one of the most spectacular and iconic pieces of movie music ever composed.

Epic movie themes have fallen from favor recently; when’s the last time you heard a film score that was truly memorable? And while people like John Williams and James Horner have done tremendous work in recent years, it seems more and more films use popular music to help tell the story — and in some cases act as a crutch to a lousy story.

Say What?

The Times Union launched reader comments for news stories and other content this week. Some people think comments are pointless, but if it’s good enough for the New York Times, it’s probably good enough for your local paper.

Unlike the paper’s blog comment system, users must register for an account — and their registration actually requires quite a bit of personal information. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an alter ego, just that your alter ego will need a working email address and some other details attached.

Paul Block, the TU’s online executive producer, said in response to a reader’s feisty jabs, “Let’s hope for some positive discourse on our stories in the days to come.”

That’s an interesting statement from the people who built the area’s most abusive and corrosive online community. For years, the Times Union’s blogs were polluted with terrible comments — and the worst of all showed up in the blogs run by Times Union employees.

Recently they seem to have started weeding out the worst comments, which is encouraging. This is especially interesting since they’ve also stopped warning readers that comments with profanity or personal attacks will be rejected. Could it be that they are finally walking the walk, not just talking the talk?

Well, included in the item about the new commenting policy is this juicy tidbit: “Previously, commenting was limited to our blogs, and for now that system will remain unchanged and separate from the new website system. In time we plan to merge the two.”

Requiring registration will not fix blog comments completely, but would go a long way toward putting the cover back on the cesspool.